Don't Starve: Giant Edition

If I’m going to summarize Don’t Starve in few specific words, I’d call it “Time Management Simulator”. Carefully calculate each single move you’re going to make and prioritize your needs to ensure your survival. This survival sandbox game is all about surviving day to day by managing your health, hunger, and sanity while exploring big randomly generated worlds in search of food and items.

The story revolves around Wilson, a genius inventor who creates a portal which sends him into the wilderness. A mysterious man named Maxwell seems to be behind all this and you'll need to search for other mechanical portals to travel form one world to another. You can, however, ignore the story and play as Wilson or any of the other characters in the survival mode without changing the world where you start the game. In this monster-inhabited world you’ll need to survive. The game doesn’t give you a hand or a tutorial but rather you’ll need to experience everything by yourself. The moment you start the game, you’ll have little to no time to waste. The clock keeps ticking and by nightfall you should have a fire around to protect you from darkness.

The more items you gather the more stuff that you can craft. Creating crafting stations like “The Science Machine” unlocks more crafting options for new items and new crafting machines as well. If you played other crafting games before like Minecraft and Terraria, then you already know the drill: gather items, create crafting stations, create new items using said stations, create new crafting stations using the new items and so on. It’s fun, addicting and satisfying to build your base and fill it with all kind of items and machines. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t have the same crafting system depth as the other crafting games since it relies on the survival aspects, but it luckily does those pretty well.

Exploring the world during the day is pretty dangerous, but exploring it during the night is deadly. Different and varied kind of monsters roam the world. Tall Birds are black one-eyed birds with long legs that can kill you in one or two hits whenever you come close to their nests. Other monsters like spiders and frogs would be found in specific areas protecting their territories and attacking in groups.

There are some neutral monsters like penguins that appear during winter and protect their eggs, tree guards that randomly spawn from trees in some occasions when you chop trees next to them and deadly plants that eat whatever come close to them. Using these creatures for your own benefits can make you avoid direct combat; luring a Deerclops (a boss monster) to fight with a Tree guard and standing behind deadly plants while hounds get eaten by them are just few examples of how you can survive without fighting or taking high risks.

There are also different seasons; while the original version of the game gives you only summer and winter, enabling the Reign of Giants DLC will bring Spring and Autumn as well. Each season offers new exclusive items and bosses as well. Reign of Giants DLC is already included in this Vita edition (Giant Edition) but you can enable/disable it before starting a new world.

Every time you die (and you’ll die a lot) you get points for each day you survived, which unlocks new characters. The first character I unlocked was also my favorite: Willow “The Firestarter”. Each character has his/her own unique skill and/or item. While Wilson can grow a magnificent beard which gives him extra warmth during the cold winter, Willow starts the game with a lighter giving her unlimited source of fire as well as some sanity points boost for being next to a fire.

The Giant Edition is nicely done on Vita but it suffers from some slowdowns during the winter (when many penguin AIs are roaming the world) which can be frustrating at some points. The small item icons on the small screen makes it hard to distinguish stuff at first glance and it'll take you sometime to get used to it.

This is a solid port of a solid survival game. It doesn't have the same crafting depth as other games like Terraria or Minecraft but it does a fine job by giving a survival experience like nothing else.